If I have to summarize my learning for this course in five concepts, they would have to be the following –
- Multigrade Teaching Is Not Second Class Teaching
- MG Teaching Needs Dynamic Teachers
- Assessment and Evaluation are parts of MG Teaching
- Appreciation for the Rich History of MG Teaching
- MG Teaching Is Moving Forward in the Philippines
Multigrade Teaching Is Not Second Class Teaching
While “many education systems, teachers and even parents, think multigrade teaching is somehow second class – the last choice of poor systems…” it is, in reality, a tool to address classroom management. This has revolutionized and made education available to everyone not only here in Southeast Asia but also in more prosperous nations such as North America, Australia, even the European continent. (UNESCO, 2013).
In addition to making education reachable for everyone, there are even more benefits such as being cost-effective, promotion of cohesive learning, development of positive attitudes like sharing, etc.
MG Teaching Needs Dynamic Teachers
While many others might think of other more pressing concerns in terms of multigrade teaching, for me, the issue on not having ample MG Teacher training will always be at the head of the list.
Discipline, classroom management, organization of instruction, proper execution of the curriculum, grouping, planning, peer tutoring implementation, and evaluation are all essential in multigrade teaching. Since these are needful, it is crucial for teachers to be skilled in managing their classrooms. This means a lot of things for the teacher such as planning across varying grade level objectives, the use of multimedia in class, organizing student groups, handling heterogeneous or homogenous grouping, etc.
MG teaching is much, much different from regular classroom setups. The planning is different, the teaching execution is different, the assessment and evaluation techniques may also be different, hence, the need for an improved training for MG classroom handling. Lastly, the teachers are even expected to develop their own cross-curricula projects and applications, eventually, so this makes training all the more compulsory.
Assessment and Evaluation Are Parts of MG Teaching
I have always thought these two to be separate from teaching. This course taught me that they are very much a part of teaching. In fact, assessment and evaluation are integral parts of the entire teaching process. I also learned to differentiate one from the other (I used to have them interchanged).
I no longer think that assessments and evaluations are all about written exams. These days, I don’t just give assessment quizzes or essay type evaluations at the end of every semester. I now make use of self-check work cards, progress sheets (which the students answer themselves), scheduled activities, etc.
Assessment, interestingly, can also be applied in the situation when the teacher needs to consider how conducive her classroom setup is for learning. I also realized that, as a teacher, I also need to assess the way I teach.
The Rich History of Multigrade Teaching/MG Teaching Is Moving Forward in the Philippines
The United States was, once again, a forerunner in multigrade teaching. As early as 1918, about 70.8% of public schools in that country were one-room schools. This was no different in the Philippines. It was also the American missionaries who set up the multigrade classrooms around the same time and we have long since been developing the way this class is handled.
We have long been exposed to multigrade classrooms but our diverse nation has yet to declare that we are fully developed in terms of instructional materials, the number of classrooms (and schools in some areas), and teachers that have been trained to conduct this unique class.
Fortunately, the highest budget allocation for the year 2016 was given to the Department of Education. This department also has the so-called MPPE or Multigrade Program in Philippine Education which aims to, among many issues, improve teacher abilities.
The Philippines is a work in progress but since I am a glass-half-full kind of person, I would like to see more improvements in the years to come. Some of the catalysts for change would certainly come from our university and maybe from our class.
The future is actually bright.
Looking back, I only had a tip-of-the-iceberg sort of understanding with regard to multigrade teaching. Taking this course was an eye and mind opener. I now use the concepts I learned in this course when I teach my theology/religion class. I saw a huge improvement as the class became more dynamic. The students were also happier as different teaching techniques were used each time. They also collaborated more and the shy ones became more open in class.
As a teacher, I learned a lot and I now appreciate my students more. This course also taught me to get to know each of my students on a more personal level. ‘Never knew that this was a necessity so that I can tailor fit the lesson according to the different intelligences, skills and level of understanding inside the classroom.
All in all, I would have to say that Teacher Shella has improved yet again.
Miller, B. (1991, May). Assessment and evaluation. Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://multigrade01.tripod.com/id6.html
Practical tips for teaching multigrade classes; 2013 – UNESCO. (2013). Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002201/220101e.pdf
Www.seameo-innotech.org. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://www.seameo-innotech.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/PolRes_ProfileofMultigradeSchoosInThePhilippines.pdf